Review by Padijun

"Fun for a while, then you realize there's no content."

I like Ragnarok Online, because as of may 2003, the iRO (international Ragnarok online) beta is free. Free MMORPG, sounds good right? Well, it is on paper. How it plays out is a different story.

Graphics: 6/10

Landscape: Simple 3-D environments, with characters, NPCs, and monsters composed of sprites. You can rotate the camera 360 degrees in all outside areas, and tilt/zoom it around your character as well. Looks decent, but not really up to par with most other pay to play MMORPGs. The clipping plane (distance that players and monsters are rendered at) is abysmally low, however.

Camera: having to right-click to move the camera all over is a pain. Navigating through forests with the camera is hell. Can't control it with any other method than the mouse (and shift keys)

Characters: Like I said, nice looking 2-D sprites. As nice looking as they are, the irritating thing is that the 6 main classes all look alike except their head. So basically, the only thing that separates me from the 2000 other swordsmen on the server is my hair color/style and the silly looking eggshell on my head.

Sound: 5/10
Individually composed music tracks for most areas, but if you're like me and don't care for the music, that's a moot point. Sound effects are decent but repetitious. I have them disabled because hearing the same monster squawk a million times is irritating.

Gameplay: 3/10
This is where RO really falls short. Basically, all you do is kill monsters, level up, get money, buy the next higher piece of gear. This is (very sparsely) broken up by quests and activities you can do... most of which involve killing one type of enemy over and over to collect an obscene amount of a certain item, which you turn into another piece of gear.

Unlike most other online RPGs, you're not encouraged to group to gain levels, because you can just solo. Granted, not everyone can solo, but many can. So the social aspects of the game are lowered severely because of that.

Another thing that lowers RO's social aspect is the bad private chat system. You can't just type /tell or /send like so many others, you have to enter their name (with perfect capitalization and punctuation) in a box to the left of the main chat field. Gets very annoying fast.

Player base: 2/10
There are 4 types of players playing RO: Botters, Killstealers, Looters, and the rare nice player you can group or have a conversation with. But overall, the worst part of the game is other people, which, sadly, is the FOCUS of an MMORPG.

Botters: They use programs to play for them. Leave your computer on all night, be higher level in the morning. Yay. They not only have leveling speed advantage over the honest player, they also indiscriminately steal kills, which leads me to...
Kill stealers: You attack a monster, monster attacks you, kill stealer attacks your monster. When the monster's dead, you've taken all the damage, and the kill stealer has stolen a percentage of the experience points. Thanks, jerk.
Looters: You're fighting 3 monsters. Oh goody, a rare item dropped! While you're busy with the other two enemies, another player comes along and grabs your rare loot before you can pick it up.
Nice players: Pretty self explanatory. Good luck finding them, you're gonna need it.

Overall: 4/10
RO is fun, if you can stand repetition, and can find the few decent people on the server you're on.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 05/08/03, Updated 05/08/03

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